News And People

Volume 14, Issue 34 - Friday, September 9, 2016

State health agencies are undergoing a massive restructuring at the direction of the state legislature. The changes are being implemented to make the system more efficient, effective and responsive.


Client services have been combined into a single division at HHSC. The system is consolidating five agencies into three, with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and the Department of Aging and Disability Services no longer operating as separate agencies by 2017.  Selected programs from the Department of State Health Services and the Department of Family and Protective Services have also moved to HHSC. The new Medical and Social Services division will combine client services and benefits like Medicaid, SNAP, TANF along with aging and waiver services from DADS; deaf, blind and independent services from DARS; and behavioral health programs from DSHS.


Sen. Kirk Watson
State Senator Kirk Watson will provide the afternoon keynote at the Biennial Legislative Communication Conference at The University of Texas at Austin on Oct. 13. Attendance is limited and those wishing to attend should register now at

Watson has represented Travis and Bastrop Counties in the Texas Senate since 2007 and he is the former mayor of Austin. He will offer conference goers his distinct "Hometown Perspective" in regard to legislative communication. 

Watson serves on the Senate committees overseeing finance, business and commerce, nominations and higher education. He is also a member of the Texas Sunset Commission. He served as chairman of the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus and has been chair of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Advisory Board for the Environmental Defense Fund.

In 2011, Watson laid out a vision for the Austin community to achieve "10 goals in 10 years" that resulted in numerous initiatives, including building of the Dell Medical School and a new teaching and safety net hospital.

The conference, sponsored since 1998 by the LBJ School of Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Inc., will offer fact-based predictions for the 2017 session. Attendees will hear about the issues statewide elected officials expect to champion, get tips on working successfully with elected leaders in the Texas House of Representatives and Senate and network with government executives.

Speakers are still being scheduled. Confirmed presenters include Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Glenn Hegar, Representative John Otto, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Governor Daniel Hodge, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Lt. Governor Logan Spence, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Speaker of the House Patricia Shipton, Budget Director for the Office of the Lt. Governor Mike Morrissey, Director of Budget and Policy for the Office of the Speaker of the House Andrew Blifford, Legislative Budget Board Director Ursula Parks, Executive Director of the Employees Retirement System of Texas Porter Wilson, Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Charles Smith, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Director Whitney Brewster, Texas Monthly Senior Editor Erica Grieder and The Texas Tribune Executive Editor Ross Ramsey.

Gerald Daugherty, Travis County Commissioner, Precinct Three

gerald daugherty
Gerald Daugherty

Career Highlights and Education: 1968 - signed with Boston Red Sox after high school at Cypress Fairbanks (Houston); 1975 - The University of Texas, B.S. Physical Education; 1976 to 2000 - private businessman; 2002 to 2008 - elected PCT 3 County Commissioner, Travis County; 2009 - opened Jack Allen's Kitchen Restaurant with a small group of investors; and 2012 - ran again for PCT 3 Travis County Commissioner.


What I like best about my job is: Helping people navigate the sometimes crazy business of government.


The best advice I've received for my current job is: Work hard and listen to all of the different sides.


Advice you would give to a new hire in your office: Always be respectful and try to help!


If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: Playing golf with my best friend, my wife.


People would be surprised to know that I: Exercise 98% of the days in a year and have for 30 years.


One thing I wish more knew about Travis County: Is that we have the highest paid sheriff's officers in the State! 


The Texas Comptroller has released totals for fiscal 2016 state revenues and monthly state revenues for August.


Net revenue available for general purpose spending after severance tax revenues are set aside for transfer to the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) and the State Highway Fund (SHF) was $49.9 billion, 1.3 percent below the Certification Revenue Estimate (CRE) projection of $50.6 billion. Sales tax revenue for the year was $28.2 billion, 3.5 percent below the CRE projection of $29.3 billion.


State sales tax revenue in August was $2.5 billion, down 2.6 percent compared to August 2015. Total sales tax revenue for the three months ending in August 2016 is down 1.7 percent compared to the same period a year ago. For details on all monthly collections, visit the Comptroller's Monthly State Revenue Watch.


Sales Tax Allocations


The Texas Comptroller will send cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts $629.2 million in local sales tax allocations for September, 1.4 percent less than in September 2015. 


Cities will receive $411.3 million, up 1.6 percent from Sept. 2015. Counties will receive $36.7 million, down 7.4 percent. Transit systems will receive $142.9 million, down .1 percent. Special purpose taxing districts will receive $38.3 million, up 1.9 percent. Visit the Comptroller's Monthly Sales Tax Allocation Comparison Summary Reports for more information.

The Long and Winding road to Smart City P3s

Mary Scott Nabers, president and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), will be among a group of nationally recognized P3 experts who will speak to a group of public officials and company representatives at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.


The Long and Winding Road to Smart City P3s is being organized by Smart & Resilient Cities and Meeting of the Minds.  The conference is hosted by Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Urban and Regional Planning. Acting Executive Director of the Build America Bureau Andrew Curtis Right, who is counselor to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, will deliver opening remarks. Panels designed to help city leaders learn how to effectively add P3s to their infrastructure portfolios will follow.


Nabers will be joined by Marshall Macomber, president of ThinkP3, John Parkinson, executive director of the Association for the Improvement of American Infrastructure, Todd Herberghs, executive director of the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships, Seth Miller Gabriel, director of the District of Columbia's Office of Public-Private Partnerships and Archana Vemulapalli, the district's chief technology officer. Panelists represent all aspects of the project, from ownership to financing, and will walk attendees through various types of public-private partnerships - from the concept and planning phase of projects through each step to completion.


Click here to register or view the full agenda.

Spring ISDTwo new middle schools, a football stadium and a police command center are on the ballot in a $350 million bond election in November approved by trustees for Spring Independent School District. Planned projects also include upgrades to technology, security and transportation in the bond proposal.


Trustees also plan to renovate an existing building into an early childhood center, develop three ninth-grade centers at each of the comprehensive high schools and renovate another middle school for ninth grade students from Westfield High School.

Central Health has issued a request for qualifications for developers interested in a downtown Austin project to redevelop the University Medical Center Brackenridge hospital campus. A high-density, mixed-use development with buildings as high as 40 stories is included in the master plan for the 14.3-acre site adjacent to Interstate 35.


The Texas A&M system board of regents has approved more than $50 million in new funds for construction projects on the 2,000-acre RELLIS campus.


A $49.2 million project is scheduled to begin in March to establish and upgrade the infrastructure network at the campus. The project includes the construction of a central utility plant, new and repaired roads, sanitary sewer extensions, surface storm water drainage, an extension of the main gas line, domestic water and the movement of electrical service underground.


The board also approved the second module of the Joint Library Facility. With construction expected to begin in November, the addition will provide another 12,195 square feet to the facility.

Horseshoe Bay City Council members authorized the city manager to finalize a contract to build a $3.5 million expansion of wastewater treatment plant. Additional engineering fees, equipment and materials will bring the total cost of the project $4.2 million. Officials said the expansion should double the capacity of the plant to treat wastewater and improve filtration.


Tyler Rose Garden
Tyler Rose Garden
In Tyler, a committee has been formed to help develop plans to improve the area around the Tyler Rose Garden and the Harvey Convention Center. With the goal of making the area a destination to attract more visitors, a three-phase plan will be implemented. 

The information gathering portion of the plan will continue until the end of the year. Three concepts will be created during the second phase and presented to the public around February. The third phase will include finalizing plans and cost estimates. The group set a goal to present the plan to members of the planning and zoning commission and city council in June 2017.

Williamson County commissioners plan to complete about $3.2 million in improvements to Fritz Park in Hutto. Voters approved $3.2 million in bonds to pay for improvement projects. Current plans include upgrades to football and baseball fields and improvements to restrooms and concession stands. County officials expect renovations to the park to be completed in spring 2017.

Photo by Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia
Photo by Billy Hathorn at en.wikipedia
U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have approved $8 million in grants and loans awarded to cities in Donley, Hall, Lamb and Swisher counties to improve infrastructure.

The city of Clarendon received the largest portion, $3.9 million, to renovate the city's water system. Current plans are to replace 728 water meters and outdated distribution lines to improve water flow and water quality. Construction on the water system could begin in the next four to six months.

Citing rapidly rising enrollment, The University of Texas at Tyler officials plan to break ground in September on a new $76 million business and technology building. The new business and technology building should be open to students by the fall of 2018.


UT-Tyler officials also expect to finalize a deal by October to buy 120 acres of land for an east campus. The site could be used to house athletic facilities.

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san angelo coliseum

The San Angelo City Council approved $497,125 to fund upgrades to several city facilities, including the convention center, the coliseum and the RiverStage.


Priority projects include repairing sewer problems and replacing the roof at the convention center, improving the air conditioning and heating system and replacing the air handler at the coliseum. City officials also plan to upgrade the parking lot at the coliseum.

Calendar of Events

Sept. 15, 2016

"The Long and Winding Road to Smart City P3s" workshop, is co-organized by Smart & Resilient Cities and Meeting of the Minds.
Hosted by Georgetown University's Master of Professional Studies in Urban and Regional Planning program and Professor Uwe Brandes, the half-day, two-panel program will utilize the rich resources of Scranton Gillette Communications and Meeting of the Minds to explore the position of  Public Private Partnerships for Transportation (P3s) in the modern infrastructure portfolio and conclude with a networking reception. Register here.


Oct. 3-4, 2016

khleuxaymm2gfukhorus Public-private partnerships are helping higher education officials meet their needs for new and renovated facilities. How this trend is growing will be discussed at the upcoming Public-Private Partnership Higher Education Summit. The summit is being described as "the premier conference for collaboration between university officers and development professionals pursuing public-private partnerships." The gathering, scheduled for Oct. 3-4 in San Diego, will feature influential decision-makers from throughout the country. Those attending will participate in two days of in-depth learning, business development and networking opportunities with facility planning, finance and business officers who are involved in public-private partnerships across the country. Speakers will show how P3s on college campuses are no longer just for student housing, but have expanded to include classrooms, laboratories, research facilities, athletic spaces and other campus infrastructure. Registration is now open and a program schedule has been released.


Oct. 11, 2016

Started seven years ago by San Antonio Clean Technology Forum, the annual Water Forum brings together municipal, educational, economic and political interests for engaged, informed discussions regarding regional water issues. This year's event, Water Forum VII: A Legacy - Edwards Aquifer Authority at 20 Years, will feature the fifth annual Water for Life Award, presented by the San Antonio Clean Technology Forum. Click here for details and registration.


Jan. 23-25, 2017

The Water for Texas 2017 Conference in Austin, Texas, will showcase innovative scientific, planning and financial solutions to water challenges; interactive data and technology; and compelling conversations on water issues that affect all Texans. Panel discussions, workshops, and exhibits will offer the opportunity to network and engage with industry leaders, elected officials and TWDB Board members and staff. A conference agenda is available. Register here.

Renewable energy - coming on stronger than ever!

By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

Here's a staggering fact! Last year, a new global record of more than $329 billion in clean energy investments was set and $56 billion of the investment happened in the United States.

The thriving renewable energy industry has the potential to solve the nation's dependence on non-environmentally friendly fossil fuels. However, as one major problem is solved, another one is created - how to store all the excess energy that is generated.

Richardo Romo
Ricardo Romo

Ricardo Romo, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, announced his plans to retire in Aug. 2017.


Since becoming president of UTSA in 1999, Romo has expanded the school into an emerging tier one research institution as designated by the Texas Legislature. During his tenure, student enrollment grew by 68 percent, academic programs expanded from 91 to 152 and doctoral programs increased from three to 24.

Alfredo Garcia
Alfredo Garcia

Trustees for Rio Grande City Independent School District selected the current interim superintendent, Alfredo Garcia, as the permanent superintendent for that district.


A 39-year veteran of the school district, Garcia previously served as an elementary, middle school and high school principal for the district. He was chosen from two candidates to replace the former superintendent, Joel Trigo, who resigned.

Brian LaBorde

Brian LaBorde has agreed to serve as the new city manager in Keene. He will replace Bill Guinn, the former city manager who retired on July 1. LaBorde begins his new duties in Keene on Oct. 3.


LaBorde previously was an assistant city manager in Buda and Dayton, the director of public works and community development in Shenandoah and a planner in Orange. He has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Texas Tech University.

jason smith
Jason Smith

Jason Smith has agreed to a three-year contract to serve as the new superintendent for Pleasant Grove Independent School District.


He most recently was superintendent for Melissa ISD and previously was a principal for McKinney ISD and Maypearl ISD. Smith has a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Humble City Council members approved $1.45 million in its 2016-2017 budget to build a new senior activity center and a building for the parks department.


City officials plan to spend $1.2 million to build a new senior center on the site of the existing center and $250,000 to construct the new park building behind the senior activity facility. The new park building will provide warehouse space and store equipment.

Greg Hutson, previously a city manager in Sansom Park, was selected as the city manager in Gilmer effective on Jan. 1, 2017. He will replace City Manager Jeff Ellington, who is retiring.


During his 28 years in city government, Hutson oversaw information technology for Arlington and Irving. He also served as executive director of the Kennedale Chamber of Commerce and the Cultural District Alliance of Fort Worth. Hutson has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

The Premont Independent School District has named former Superintendent Ernest Singleton as the new interim superintendent.


Singleton returned to the job after the Interim Superintendent Eric Ramos was put on paid administrative leave last week. Ramos succeeded Singleton when he retired in 2013.

Georgetown city council members are considering an agreement with Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 8 to build and operate a new fire station to serve the western area of the city and Williamson County. The vote on the proposed agreement is expected in October.


The agreement calls for ESD officials to oversee construction of the fire station on land the district previously purchased. City officials would manage, furnish and staff the fire station. Once the agreement is approved, current plans call for construction on the station to begin in about one year.

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Athens city officials allotted $2.9 million to upgrade the water and wastewater systems during the next 12 months to help bring the city into compliance with state regulators. They also discussed long-range plans for the systems.


The council previously agreed to use more than $12 million in certificates of obligations to finance water system upgrades. They discussed hiring a consultant to develop a formula for long-term repairs, overhauls and expansions to the current water system. Under the city's capital improvement program, $198,000 was set aside to create the model for the work needed on the water system and an additional $180,000 to upgrade the maintenance offices at the wastewater plant.

The Texas A&M University System board of regents approved conceptual plans for a $36 million multipurpose academic building in McAllen. The building is to be the first at the proposed new Texas A&M University Higher Education Center campus at the Tres Lagos development on the north side of McAllen. When fully complete, the 60,000 square-foot facility will include classrooms, laboratories, faculty and administrative support offices and student services. 

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso was awarded a $25 million gift from the Hunt Family Foundation to open a dental school. The foundation donated the funds to establish the Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine, the first dental school to be operated by Texas Tech and the first to open in the state in more than 40 years.


Texas Tech officials estimate the new dental school will cost $50 million to $80 million to begin operations, pending approval from the Texas Education Coordinating Board. Officials estimate a 2020 opening for the dental school.


City of Dallas - Audit of Revenue Estimates Included in the Fiscal Year 2016-17 Proposed Annual Budget for the City of Dallas Sept. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - An Audit Report on Financial Processes at the Pension Review Board Aug. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - An Audit Report on the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas at the Water Development Board Aug. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - An Audit Report on Selected Design-build Contracts at the Department of Transportation Aug. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - A Report on the Self-reported Implementation of Sunset Advisory Commission Management Actions Aug. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - A Report on the Audit of the Teacher Retirement System's Fiscal Year 2015 Employer Pension Liability Allocation Schedules Aug. 2016

Texas State Auditor's Office - A Classification Compliance Audit Report on Program Specialist and Program Supervisor Positions at the Department of Aging and Disability Services Aug. 2016
Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the following appointments:
  • Freddie "Fred" Rangel, San Antonio, Texas Real Estate Broker Lawyer Committee
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Texas Government Insider is a free weekly newsletter detailing important happenings throughout the state and summarizing current political issues relevant to individuals interested in government.   
Publisher: Mary Scott Nabers
Editor: Priscilla Loebenberg 
TGI is published by Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a research and consulting firm. Founded in Texas in 1995 by former government executives and public sector experts, SPI has developed a national reputation as the premier marketing partner dedicated to helping companies secure contracts in the $1.5 trillion state and local government marketplace.   
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